What legal actions can I take if a dog bit my son? 40 Answers as of July 12, 2013

A dog recently bit my son. I know who the people are and this isn’t the first time their dog has bit someone. It’s a mean Rottweiler. I have pictures of my three-year-old sons stomach where he bit him and I have hospital reports and a police report. Thanks.

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Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
You should contact an attorney immediately. This sounds like a very serious claim. In Missouri you have five years to file such a lawsuit, but you should move quickly before evidence is lost, memories fade, and that dog becomes older and more docile! If you have any further questions or would like help with your case, please feel free to contact my office.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 6/3/2011
David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
You can file a claim against the dog owners. Call me to discuss, if you wish.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 5/31/2011
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
You have a viable claim if the dog has a history as you say. Question is how bad the injury is, what the bills are and what the drs say about scarring etc.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 5/27/2011
Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC
Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC | Travis Prestwich
You can bring a claim against the at-fault parties. However, you probably should determine early whether the person had homeowners insurance or not because that will affect the likelihood of receiving compensation.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/26/2011
Wilson & Hajek, LLC
Wilson & Hajek, LLC | Eddie W. Wilson
You can bring an action against the owners.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 5/26/2011
    Bristol & Dubiel LLP
    Bristol & Dubiel LLP | Murray L. Bristol
    You may have a legal claim against the owners of the dog. I would recommend contacting an attorney to discuss your case.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Richard E. Lewis, P.S.
    Richard E. Lewis, P.S. | Richard Eugene Lewis
    You can sue for the injuries to your son. What you need to prove depends on the state. Here in Washington you do not need to prove that the dog is dangerous. The owner is responsible unless your son provoked the dog.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    It sounds serious enough that you should call a lawyer. If the dog has bitten before and the owner allowed circumstances to exist that allowed the dog to bite again, then you should be able to recover. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Law Office of William Justice Whitaker
    Law Office of William Justice Whitaker | William J. Whitaker
    Your legal recourse depends on if you can prove the dog has bitten someone before. Virginia follows the "One Bite Rule" which summed up states, that if a dog has never shown aggressive behavior before and has never bitten someone before, then there is no legal liability for the dogs owner. However, the flip side of the rule is that if the dog has bitten someone before or has a history of aggressive behavior, then the dogs owner is strictly liable for any damage the dog caused. I would be happy to speak with you regarding this matter. Please feel free to contact me to discuss this matter in detail.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Tomalas Law Firm
    Tomalas Law Firm | Ryan Tomalas
    It sounds as though you (on behalf or your son) have a good case against the owner of the dog. In California dog owners are held Strictly Liable for the injuries caused by their dogs. Meaning that the owner of the dog is responsible for your injuries no matter what caused the dog to bite, or whether the dog has bitten others in the past. Generally, a dog owner's homeowner's insurance policy (assuming they have one) extends to cover these types of situations. Dog bite cases can be quite complex, especially in light of the emotional/psychological aspect of dog bites and the potential for long term/permanent scaring. (Both of these factors are much more significant in circumstances involving children.) Please keep in mind that the "value" of your son's case is not limited to the medical bills which have been incurred, but rather will take into account the numerous ways this incident may impact his life. We have handled hundreds of dog bite cases and are extremely experienced in this area of the law. Please visit the dog bite resource center on our web site for detailed information on your rights and how we can help you/your son; or feel free to call our office for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Kline Law Offices P.C.
    Kline Law Offices P.C. | Robert C. Kline Jr.
    You can pursue a claim for your son's medical bills and pain and suffering. Given that the dog has bitten someone before, it makes proving that the dog's owner was negligent much more straightforward. Any recovery you obtain requires special procedures to be followed given that your son is a minor. I would be happy to assist you.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    E. Ray Critchett, LLC
    E. Ray Critchett, LLC | Ray Critchett
    Generally, in Ohio, a dog owner may be held strictly liable for injuries and damages caused by their dog and they may be subject to punitive damages if their dog has a known propensity to bite and/or attack people and/or young children; however, there are some limited defenses to these types of claims. If you would like to discuss your son's case further, please feel free to give me a call or you can set up an appointment. There is no fee for the initial consultation. I hope your son is recovering well.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 11/6/2012
    McEldrew Law
    McEldrew Law | James J McEldrew III
    It would be important to know how your son came into contact with this dog . Did the come onto your property or did your son wonder into his property? Where you on neutral turf? Was the dog in a fenced in area? These are important factors to know. First I hope for the best for your son. In this case a lawsuit should be filed against the owners and a claim made against their homeowners policy ? A dog who is known to be vicious is like having a loading gun around and should be under rap and key all the time if not euthanized.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Tenge Law Firm, LLC
    Tenge Law Firm, LLC | J. Todd Tenge
    You should have a very good basis for a claim against the owner. The question would then be the extent of the injuries and damages to your son. Contact us for more information.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
    You may have a case, based upon the information that you have supplied.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    You can sue the owner of the dog. With evidence of prior bites this should be an easy case to win if there were no other contributing circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Send them a letter making a demand for all of your compensable damages. And, if refused (or ignored), sue 'em in your local small claims court.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    You should contact the police and an attorney to pursue a lawsuit. The dog must be kept under control and the owner is liable for injuries related to the dog.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    You have a case against them and their homeowners insurance. Take pictures and get treatment for his injuries. Get an attorney to handle case. Our website has information on dog bites and what to do.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Bloom Gates Sigler & Whiteleather, LLP
    Bloom Gates Sigler & Whiteleather, LLP | Matthew Shipman
    With a dog bite case, it is important to immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney who has dealt with dog bite cases in the past. If I can be assistance, please do not hesitate to give me a call.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm | Francis Hajek
    Dog bite cases are a frequent issue facing the personal injury attorney. On my website, I have an article addressing the issues facing the victim. In this case, it certainly seems that there is a case. The dog has a history of attacks and it is a breed that is recognized to be dangerous. You have done the right thing by keeping all the bills. The next step is to talk to an experienced injury attorney. Together, you can figure out what is the next step and what kind of value the case has. If you just want to talk on the phone and consider your options, call my office.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We are the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC located in Augusta, Georgia. I would recommend that you retain a lawyer in your community as soon as possible to discuss your rights and options about filing suit. It sounds like you have done a good job in beginning to gather the information to discuss with your attorney. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    There is strict liability for such cases if the child was not trespassing or teasing tormenting or abusing the dog; and you would appear to have an action even without that since the dog has bit before.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Ramunno & Ramunno, P.A.
    Ramunno & Ramunno, P.A. | Lawrence A. Ramunno
    You can sue but you need to prove the owners did something wrong.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Ron Graham Attorney at Law
    Ron Graham Attorney at Law | Ron Graham
    You can start a injury suit for your son injuries.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 5/25/2011
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC | Paul S. Bovarnick
    If the owner of the dog negligently allowed the dog to bite your son, or negligently failed to prevent the dog bite, you may be able to recover your son's damages from the dog's owner.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    Hire personal injury attorney and sue owners of dog.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    Dog bite cases are not unlike any other negligence action. You must have proof that the owner knew their dog had a propensity to bite others. If the dog has in fact bit other children, then of course they are on notice. In general, in dog cases, the owner can get away with one bite because they will claim they had no knowledge of their dog's tendency to bite others, but once that first bite occurs, they have knowledge and can be held liable in some circumstances. This is NOT a strict liability matter, which means if the child is poking at the dog, being mean to the dog, persists while the dog is warning the child by snarling and snapping (short of biting) but the child persists, the owner may have a defense and certainly a jury would not consider that type of behavior as one that would be rewarded with a money award. Call if you have further questions.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    You have a personal injury claim against the dog owner so long as your son was in a public place or lawfully in a private place at the time of the bite. Civil Code section 3342 provides: (a) The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Garruto & Calabria, LLC
    Garruto & Calabria, LLC | Andrew F. Garruto
    Make sure your local health department is aware of this incident, and inquire if the dog was licensed and had all required shots.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You can certainly sue the owner on behalf of your son. I would be glad to help as I have handled dozens of these in my career. The law is very clear in his favor. Call me to get started.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    In Utah, the owner or keeper of a dog is strictly liable for injuries caused by the dog. Your legal options include making an insurance claim or filing suit. You should think seriously about finding an attorney for this issue, as the insurance coverage and injury issues can be very complicated. I'd be happy to help you.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Magnuson Lowell P.S.
    Magnuson Lowell P.S. | Richard S. Lowell
    You should immediately report the incident to the Animal Control office in your city/county. Then, you should speak with an attorney, such as myself, who is experienced in handling dog bite cases. Your son may have a claim against the owners - but I would need to know the circumstances as to how the bite occurred.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    You can sue. Are there injuries or scars? Does the defendant have insurance? Feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    I think you should take a copy of the police report and the doctors. medical reports and see a competent PI attorney. The issues are going to be the fact that the dog has previously bit some one, the nature of the injuries to your son and the recovery process, is there going to be scarring and how bad (medical expert), who saw it and their relationship to your son, your son's reaction. AND how did your son come to be in contact with this dog?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    I hope your son is doing okay. Almost all jurisdictions would hold the owner of the dog legally responsible for your medical expenses and non-economic damages (e.g., the pain associated with the bite) if the dog was not properly secured on private property, especially if the dog has a history of aggression. Even if the dog was on private property, there are circumstances where the owner can be held responsible. Many insurance policies cover this type of event and would afford you compensation. You should speak to a local attorney who can look at the specifics surrounding the incident, and tell you the options available to you. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/21/2012
    Allen Murphy Law
    Allen Murphy Law | W. Riley Allen
    Assuming the owner has homeowner's insurance coverage (owns the home), you have a good (viable) claim against the insurance carrier for the homeowner.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Suisman Shapiro
    Suisman Shapiro | John A. Collins
    You can bring a claim against them under CT's dog bite" statute. Often these claims are covered under a homeowner's insurance policy. Call if we can help.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Law Office of Christopher F. Earley
    Law Office of Christopher F. Earley | Christopher Earley
    Hi: Sorry to hear about that. You may bring a claim against the owner of the dog. Be wary of overly kind insurance adjusters, assuming there is available homeowners insurance.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 5/24/2011
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